Water and Stones make Journeys Too: Business Principles – Risk, Motivation and Curiosity
I want to follow on from my weekly photo challenge post first of all which is where the title comes from really … and then I will describe my day. What got me thinking about this was the subject of the weekly photo challenge being Foreign and as I walked along I saw a clearly out of place rock on the beach. Then by chance I spotted a couple of pieces of the white speckled stone that originates at Scurdie Ness.
The more closely I looked at all the pebbles there was such huge variety in rock types. colours and patterns (normally pebble beaches are made up of a small variety of local stones) but there were a huge number of very smooth very round pebbles and stones compared to the very chunky square lava rock pieces up the coast. Now obviously for a piece of Scurdie Rock to get to a beach south of Arbroath it has had to be transported some distance. It is possible I suppose that a person picked it up and then discarded it on this other beach – but unlikely.
So it would seen that it has been brought here by the sea. Of course that will not have been a straight line, shortest route – it will have been flung up and down beaches as it bounced along the coast. I would love to know how long it has taken … I guess it would be feasible to measure it by putting some kind of sea proof tag on a pebble at Scurdie Ness and tracking it?
So then I got to thinking about the very round smooth pebbles and paddle stones and how much sea power was needed to shape them plus why there was such a wide variety of colours and types of rocks. That was my light bulb moment (and I am sure it is not news to serious geologists but I am just a person who has had her interest sparked) the pebbles were not rounded and smoothed by the sea. They have come from the sandstone cliffs just up the coast. If you recall the pictures from Monday that had layers of beautifully round smooth stones in the sandstone strata. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock so it has been laid down underwater – layer upon layer but then every so often something will add itself to the layers – in this case stones brought by glacier? The pebbles I am walking amongst were shaped by ice, then trapped in the compressed sandstone before being released again by the power of water from the sea and erosion as well as possibly ice freezing and cracking the sandstone.
Water makes journeys – we know the water in the sea goes up and down our beaches but currents move it much further than that; water falls as rain is gathered and runs down burns to the sea before evaporating and being recycled; and glaciers move frozen water.
Stones make journeys – carried in glaciers, bounced around by waves or even in a pocket after being chosen form the beach. Together stones and water eventually create the sand and sediment that sedimentary rocks are made from – recycling again. Huge power and also great beauty.
I will come back to the water pictures shortly.
So what did I do today? I saw a red squirrel cross the road in front of the bus and jump away up the wee embankment. Interestingly red squirrel’s came up at Community Council meeting later (not in person but as a topic) with someone asking about putting signs up or doing something to reduce squirrel deaths on our roads with people reporting lots of dead squirrels locally. Strange that I travel those roads every day and every red squirrel we have seen is very much alive and full of beans. If the red squirrels are spending that much time at ground level we have something majorly wrong with our ecology since their nature is to stay in the tree tops. Grey squirrels do come down to the ground to forage but they are a pest.
I have a quiet smile to myself every day when I see the road safety advice hanging over the A90 – today’s was “Don’t Drive Tired” – yes they have limited space but they put up much bigger messages than that so why not add the extra words to make that really clear? The one that really makes me chuckle though is “Check your load” because I have a picture of the bus driver pulling over and checking the passengers before continuing.
The roads didn’t look too wet today but by the time we came to cross the dual carriageway the outside of the windows was thick with greasy mud. I often wipe the inside windows so the drivers don’t need to pull over to do it but today it had to be a stop for the driver to clean outside while I dried inside.
I had taken the kite but when I got to Easthaven there was not a breath of wind. I set off to walk along the beach to Arbroath, beachcombing as I went. Last time I did this walk in the other direction the tide was well in so it was a pleasant surprise to see how much sand there was to walk on. Before long it started to drizzle so I popped the cover on the backpack and raised my umbrella. I had my microfleece headband on – I wish I had got one years ago – it is so warm and it stops my loose hair flying around and getting in the way … wonderful.
I don’t think I have ever walked along the beach with my umbrella up but it was really very nice. The rain was leaving all the stones shiny and jewel bright. Now you are probably thinking but how is this starting a business? and several people have raised the subject of taking risks. Am I taking risk by walking alone?
Well actually yes I am – of course I am – we all take risk everyday the minute we leave the house (and often before) and we do constant little bits of risk assessment. But I am taking risk to try things out; to challenge myself and to practice my coaching ad mentoring skills. Today the tide was well out and I knew I had plenty of time; I had assessed that risk with a quick check onlne for information. I wasn’t at height and so vertigo was not an issue. I could have tripped on the pebbles – but I took care to lift my feet up. The rocks are very flat and good for testing out a little bit of balancing; which I then put to use to ford a wee burn. On an ongoing basis I am assessing the sand – is it too soft and giving – is it mud – is there any risk of quick sand? and so on.
But how does this relate to the business? Well If I cannot deal with risk why should anyone trust me with their money invested in a business? I do not have financial assets that I can put into this business; the risk I will carry is my reputation; being the only specialist and not having enough time to do everything; getting it wrong for a customer. Innovation is about taking the risk of failure so I cannot be personally risk averse if I wish to innovate and enthuse other people. So in challenging myself I am building my confidence in dealing with risk.
I mentioned coaching and mentoring – I have already told you that when I found myself in scary situations I talked to myself; in fact I give myself a good talking to because that is what motivates me to keep going. If I can coach myself up a steep cliffside and motivate myself to look down from a height and take pictures I know I can coach and motivate in any situation I come across in business.
How do I know this? Because 6 weeks ago I could not have confidently set out on cliff paths or scrambled over rocks and through a den … I have worked on my physical strength and flexibility at the same time I have coached a change in my mental attitude. I am happy to tell you that sometimes I get scared – because I also want you to understand that I have techniques for dealing with that fear and making it work for me instead of being a threat.
As for taking risks by walking alone – yes of course there are some weird folk out in the world but as one person said when I asked if I should lock myself in the house to keep safe … “No – who would write the blog then?” I do plan before I set off and I really enjoy this solitary time – having the chance to freely look at what is around me and explore things that I am curious about – for example would you know how to differentiate between a dog paw print and an otter paw print … neither did I until 10 days ago … now I would not pass an otter track by and assume it was a pooch. This is another skill in business – no not identifying otter’s paw marks – questioning things; challenging things and knowing the signs to keep an eye out for. As well as knowing how to start finding out what one doesn’t already know!
So back to my walk – I didn’t rush but I made good time despite the wet backs of my jeans. I would have liked to walk right along to the slipway to leave the beach but I wasn’t quite in time to do that so I had to use the steps a few hundred metres sooner. I knew there was a four sided shelter up on the West Links and I found the dry side for a rest and a sandwich. Out of the wind and rain I was really snug and could quite happily have snuggled there for an hour or so to read – but I needed a wee and the sound of the waves breaking wasn’t helping!
Just before I got to the dry and facilities I hauled out the camera (instead of my phone) to take photographs of the harbour breakwater at Arbroath. To show you how different I am about heights I confidently walked rig to the rock defences and peered down and took photos without a worry. After the Ladies and a large latte I took some photographs of the waves in the outer harbour basin – remember I walked across there last time I was here?
Then I took a peek at Mackays Boatyard where a trawler was in for repair and finally took some pictures with the phone of the waves overtopping the seawall. The difficulty with the phone is it is not as responsive as the camera so I missed more waves than I got but I wasn’t keen to have the camera out again in that rain. It was amazing though to see seaweed shooting up in the air.
So here are my pictures of the water – being energetic, powerful and making it’s journey:
I caught the X7 back to Dundee and had a really enjoyable trip after what started off as an irritating encounter. I sat on the front seat opposite the driver. A chap sat behind me and started a dialogue with the driver over my head. It quickly became apparent this was an off duty driver and if I am bus spotter he is a complete and utter Bus Nerd. After a while they used each other’s names and I realised that I knew of both of them, but they didn’t realise that.
Eventually one of them admitted to having had a well known convenience take away “Bargain Bucket” all to himself … the other was in stunned disbelief and I couldn’t help laughing. I thanked them both when I got off for a most entertaining journey.
My day went downhill after that with Community Council meeting – we talked about a dozen lights which are off and need to be on or are on but should be off; we talked about overgrown hedges; we talked about holes in roads. Then we had what was supposed to pass as an AGM with some very unbelievable statements being made by the Chairperson. This is an organisation that is not serving the citizens as it should; it is self serving of the members who think it is their job to meet once a month – like a sort of club. There is gross ignorance of governance and how to engage with the community. I am at the point where I have tried to progress things and quite honestly I don;t need the negativity and if we are not going to work for the community where is the value in spending time at this ‘club’
I had better go an explore tomorrow’s weather forecast and get myself off to sleep or I will be missing my bus … but remember, every journey starts with one step (whether one is a stone, water or a person) and I am finding the steps in my journey are more fluid the further I travel. I hope you will want to keep walking with me along this path?